Raleigh nonprofit opens new retail store, design studio

Designed for Joy held a ribbon cutting on Friday.

RALEIGH, N.C. — The community celebrated the grand opening of a nonprofit’s new location in downtown Raleigh Friday.


What You Need To Know

Designed for Joy has a new retail store and design studio in downtown Raleigh

The nonprofit has been around for four years and employs women who may not otherwise have a job

DFJ sells handbags, jewelry and other items at 517 W. Cabarrus Street


Designed for Joy (DFJ) offers transitional work experience for women coming from vulnerable situations, including human trafficking, homelessness and addiction. The new building at 517 W. Cabarrus Street now serves as its retail shop and design studio.

Some of the women employed at Designed for Joy.

Samantha Bishop, the production coordinator at DFJ, says working at the nonprofit has helped her afford her own apartment for her and her sons. Bishop says DFJ empowers women and gives them resources to grow.

“I think when you’re in certain situations you forget there’s people that really do care, and I think you forget how strong and important you are. Being here helps you realize that,” Bishop said.

Cary Heise, the executive director and co-founder of DFJ, says their goal is to hire women who may otherwise be without a job.

“We offer job training, a place where someone could refresh their resume and do interview skills. But with the job training, we actually have the job to support someone now and at a living wage,” Heise said.

To date, Designed for Joy has hired 52 women who work as artisans to create handbags, jewelry and other items. The new space will allow DFJ to increase production and partner with nearby organizations to help more women in need.

DFJ’s Gateway Center Boutique on Crabtree Boulevard will remain open until the end of the year. Both the Crabtree Boulevard and new W. Cabarrus Street locations are open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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